As presently proposed, the Bettendorf Community School District facility plan could use some work. While much of it is good with respect to improvements at middle schools, the high schools and some elementary schools, the intention to close two elementary schools and build a new one is short-sighted and not a prudent use of facility dollars or bonding capacity. Nor is it in the interest of the district's desire to attract young families.
As presented, there was no research done to explore extending the life of the schools it proposes to chloroform. Previous studies and input from community, engineers and teachers were acknowledged but disregarded. Also ignored is the impact on the district as a whole of depriving portions of the city of neighborhood schools.
No mention is made of relative academic performance of students at these schools, the degree of collaboration already in existence, or the notion that some say the need is less about 21st century facilities than about 21st century training of educators.
Let's ignore for a moment that there is no property presently owned by the district that is appropriate for such a school and that no mention is made of whether the two suggested location, both city parks, have not been favorably viewed by the citizens, let alone park board members or city council.
Decisions to close any school are tough. The reasons for the closing are typically under utilization, declining enrollment district-wide, unsound structural integrity or fiscal challenges in the district. Bettendorf Community School District is experiencing none of these.
As mentioned there is much in the proposed 6-year facilities plan that is good, fiscally responsible and done with the good of the student in mind.
Bettendorf taxpayers are urged to attend the Feb. 3 work session at Herbert Hoover Elementary to share concerns.